Mission impossible for Elio Di Rupo?

Published on 17 May 2011 at 10:17


“After 337 days of crisis, the King has appointed Elio Di Rupo as a formateur,” writes *Le Soir*, using the Belgian term for a politician tasked by the King with forming a coalition government. The leader of the francophone Socialist Party (PS)”, reads the statement from the Palace, “will try to “form a government and take all useful initiatives to that end”. “It’s a symbolic step,” adds the Brussels daily. “This is the first time a person has been appointed and given the task of forming a new executive. But the job of the francophone winner of the elections [of 13 June 2010] remains daunting” and “nearly an impossible mission”, headlines Le Soir: “Nine months we have waited for this!” writes Véronique Lamquin.“Appointing a formateur is a huge step forward”. It does, nonetheless, leave the writer “puzzled and sceptical” as she contemplates the differences between the N-VA [New Flemish Alliance, front runners in the north of the country] and the PS on subjects as diverse as justice, asylum and pensions: Di Rupo’s task, in essence, is to reconcile the irreconcilable. “For that reason,” the editorialist concludes, “optimism, frankly, doesn’t have much wriggle room.”

Even less so on the Flemish side, where the Flemish daily De Morgen leads with a more definite “Mission Impossible” for Di Rupo. His appointment, De Morgenwrites, “was not received with applause” and the Flemish party leaders reacted with some surprise to an appointment presented to them as a “fait accompli.” “It’s not known how Di Rupo will bring it off,” De Morgenadds, agreeing with Le Soirwhen it writes that the socialist “is heading out the starting gate without any resolution of those fundamental differences of opinion with the N-VA.”

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